13 May 2021, the United Nations Regional Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNLIREC), in collaboration with the Argentine Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity, delivered an online seminar on ‘measures to prevent armed violence against women’.

Close to 130 people participated in representation of different public bodies and social organisations that tackle problems vis-a-vis armed violence and disarmament. It is important to underline that more than 80% of participants were women. This is an encouraging figure given that one of the objectives of the UNLIREC’s ‘Women, Disarmament, Non-Proliferation and Arms Control’ programme is to promote women’s participation and training in these areas.

The seminar began with an overview and analysis of regional and global numbers related to armed violence and violence against women, with a focus on firearms’ influence not only on femicides, but also on different types of violence against women, whether it be physical, sexual or psychological. The seminar emphasised that the presence of a firearm in gender violence should be considered a risk factor – not only because of its lethal potential – but also because it can be used to threaten or suppress victims, making them more vulnerable.

In addition, UNLIREC presented the principal findings and recommendations from their normative study that looked at the necessary link between gender-based violence regulations and small weapon regulations, with special emphasis on South American countries.

To offer a national perspective on the issue, an official from the Ministry of Women shared statistics from Argentina on homicide, femicide and reports of gender violence, broken down by sex of the victim, perpetrator and weapon used. The official also presented information on the number of firearms registered and of legitimate users, which was also broken down by sex. She emphasised the fact that 98% of users of registered weapons are men, which shows that the use of firearms – wrongful or not – is strongly linked to men. She also referenced the common agenda that the National Agency of Controlled Materials (ANMaC) is carrying out in order that arms control, greater awareness and voluntary disarmament help prevent violence against women.

Authorities from ANMaC were at the event, and they talked about the work they carry out in background searches on and disqualifications for arms users who have committed commit acts of gender violence (preventative measures ordered by the the court). Furthermore, in line with their preventative work, they added that they use a workshop, Armed Masculinity, aimed at the general public, public bodies and security forces officers, to help people think about the influence of gender stereotypes and expectations on the use of violence and weapons.

Finally, the seminar underlined the importance of this type of interinstitutional collaboration to ensure that firearms control and disarmament help prevent violence against women.

The webinar formed part of a larger UN project Support for the integration of the gender perspective in policies, programmes and actions in the fight against trafficking and wrongful use of small weapons, in accordance with the women, peace and security agenda, supported by the European Union.